How to Prevent and Relief Occupational Pain Among Surgeons

Surgeons are among the medical professionals who are at higher risk of potentially serious health hazards. Today, we will discuss some of the common types of occupational pain that surgeons experience during and after surgery and how they can be prevented or relieved.

Medical professionals exist to provide the general public with the health care they need. But human as they are, these health care providers are also subject to different illnesses and pain just like anybody else.

Surgeons are just among the many medical professionals who are subjected to varied occupational risks. Although hospitals and health institutions give importance to occupational health and to ensuring the safety of their medical staff at work, many surgeons still end up cutting their careers shorter than expected because of occupation-related pain, injuries, and illnesses.

The operating room can be a frightening stage not only for patients but also for surgeons. For many surgeons, every surgical operation is like getting into the battlefield. Just like soldiers fighting in a war, surgeons are also willing to endure the pain, and exhaustion they feel during the surgery just to make sure that the operation is successful, especially during a life and death situation.

Working long hours inside the surgical operation room can exert physical strain on a surgeon’s body, causing pain and discomfort. Unfortunately, simple work-related pains are often unreported and if reported, they are mostly left unaddressed or not acted upon accordingly. This increases the surgeons’ risks of potentially serious health hazards. In this article, we will discuss some of the common types of occupational pain that surgeons experience during and after surgery. Also included here are some of the effective ways to prevent and relieve these different work-related pains.

Neck and back pain

Sustaining uncomfortable postures during lengthy surgical operations can result in neck and back pain. In an attempt to see the operating field clearly, surgeons typically have to position their bodies at an angle that provides the best access to their work area even if it means staying in an uncomfortable posture. Most of the time, surgeons need to lower their heads and lean their bodies a bit more forward to get a better view of the operating field. Holding such a posture for long hours can be straining. Not to mention, it likewise increases the risks of infection from the patient’s blood and bodily fluid splashes.

Though many people believe that chronic neck and back pain and surgical practice are a premade package, this does not mean that you have to continuously endure the pain and simply deal with it lightly as if it is just normal. Know that there are things that you can do and instruments you can use to prevent neck and back pain.

Stretching and exercise, for instance, can help strengthen your muscles and help relieve pain and tension on the back and neck. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to do this. Just a quick stretching in between operations or once in an hour or two will do.

Another way of preventing neck and back pain is by using the right instruments. A pair of surgical loupes, for example, can help you see your work field more clearly and largely without bending forward. The use of surgical loupes has been proven to help improve work posture and prevent work-related musculoskeletal pain and injury.

Eyestrain

Keeping your eyes focused on the operating field for a lengthy period can cause strain on the eyes and the surrounding muscles. Eye strain is more common among surgeons who are using the wrong vision aids during operation.

Every surgeon has his/her own vision preferences and requirements. While a typical surgical microscope can provide a larger view of the operating field, it is not a “one size fits all” thing that will suit every surgeon’s visual needs. This is one of the reasons why many surgeons experience eye strain.

One of the effective ways to prevent eye strain, though, is to use loupes. The dental loupes are the ones that fit the wearer’s visual needs and at the same time comfortable and light to wear.

Headache

There are many causes of headaches. Most of the time, headache during and after surgical operation is associated with neck positioning and vision.

When you hold your neck in an uncomfortable position for a long time like bending it downward or forward, it can exert extra force on the muscles on the head and neck. This can cause strain and pain in the area. Moreover, forcing the eyes to see and focus on the smaller details of the operating field can lead both to eyestrain and headache.

While using surgical loupes can help you see an enlarged and clearer image of the operating field, it is sometimes not enough. The area still needs to receive the right amount and quality of illumination. The surgical headlights do not only provide focused, stable, high-quality, and proper illumination, but they likewise help prevent eyestrain and headache by keeping the operating well-lit.

Hand pain

Surgeons experience pain while performing surgical operations not only because of sustaining uncomfortable postures but also because of the positioning of instruments.
Wrong hand instrument positioning can lead to hand pain and injury. While hand pain can’t totally be prevented, there are ways to at least minimize and manage the discomfort it brings.
One way to avoid excessive hand pain is to use the right type of hand instruments. It also helps to make sure that the cutting instruments are sharp enough for the operation.

These are just some of the different kinds of pain that surgeons usually feel during and after each surgery. Though it seems normal for surgeons to experience such kinds of pain at least once in their career, leaving these pains unaddressed can lead to injury and even early retirement.

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